Across the Arctic Circle: Scotland, Norway & Spitsbergen« All Polar Pioneer cruise options
|Dates||Deck + Cabin Type|
|Triple Shared||Twin Shared||Twin Private||Mini Suite||Suite|
|Jul 3 '13
|Optional kayaking: $1195|
- Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate
Day 1 Aberdeen, West Scotland
Board Polar Pioneer around mid-afternoon in Aberdeen, after settling in set sail in for the Orkney Islands, where Stone Age villages like Skara Brae, relics of Viking occupation and the wild sea stack Old Man of Hoy vie for your attention.
Days 2-3 Orkney Islands
Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, lying 6 miles north of the Scottish mainland, a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. Follow the passage of time – from 5000 year old World Heritage neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings and reminders of World War 2 occupation, to present day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds and cliff top paths and bleak moors beckon the keen hikers aboard, while kayakers use paddle-power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.
Mid-way between Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle houses a major European ornithological research station, and is also famous for knitwear and historic shipwrecks. About 3 miles by 2 miles, it is surrounded by impressive cliffs. The 70 or so islanders mostly live in traditional crofts on the more fertile low-lying southern part of the island.
A bird watchers’ paradise, Fair Isle lies on the intersection of major flight-paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. It attracts common species and also eastern rarities such as the lanceolated warbler. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins, and it is an excellent place to view seabirds at close range, especially puffins. The island also has over 250 species of flowering plants, including wetland flowers, rare orchids, alpine species and common wildflowers. You’ll be welcomed by the hospitable villagers and may take a hike or visit the museum.
Day 4 Shetland Islands
Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 100 miles north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites, and offer a taste of traditional island life.
Plan to visit some of Shetland's best-preserved and most complex archaeological sites, brochs - fortified Iron Age towers.
Day 5 At Sea
While sailing towards the Norwegian coastline, the warmth of the bridge or the outer decks offer an excellent vantage point for birdwatching. Your historian and naturalists will delight you with their informative talks.
Days 6-9 Norwegian Coastline
Your captain aims to spend the three days exploring the superb Norwegian coastline, cruising the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands. The cod-fishing island of Sor Glaeslingan will welcome you with its delightful wooden houses and cheerful inhabitants, while searching for nesting kittiwakes and reclusive sea otters. Hunt for fabled trolls as you pass by Torgatten, meaning mountain with a hole, said to be caused by a troll arrow.
Crossing the Arctic Circle, make your way to the Lofoten Island’s, meaning puma’s foot, this is a land scoured by ice and legend, the towering crags with their sharp edges, standing in silent protection of the villages below. As you continue to travel north, the days are noticeably longer and search for sperm whales, orcas, minke whales, pilot whales and dolphins in the deep squid rich ocean trenches off Andenes.
Days 10-13 Spitsbergen
Approach Spitsbergen at its most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp and explore the coastline entering a different world – that of the polar desert. Enormous peaks and deeply gouged fjords make your visit to Hornsund a powerful experience. As the southern most fjord in Svalbard, be on a keen lookout for polar bears, cruise in Zodiacs, along glacial fronts that are home to bearded and ring seal, kittiwakes and guillemots. Here continue your exploration into human history dating back 400 years in Svalbard, encompassing trapping and hunting, whaling and mining. If the skies are clear you may catch a glimpse of dramatic Hornsundtind, peaking at 1430m.
Dramatic folds characterise the geological landscape of Bellsund and here you will enjoy magnificent vistas and steep bird cliffs creating lush vegetation; an open invitation to Arctic fox and polar bears. Little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink footed geese all make this their breeding home. Reindeer graze the slopes peacefully and with two branches of the fjord, there are numerous places to explore. Polar bears pass through the area on their way to the west coast, and if you are lucky you may encounter of the elusive and alluring white beluga whale.
Day 14 Longyearbyen, Svalbard
On arrival Longyearbyen, disembark and bid farewell to new found friends.
Itinerary NotesCruise fare includes:
- All entry fees to historic landings and historic sites.
- Ship's accommodation. All public areas are open to all passengers.
- All meals on board ship.
- Use of gumboots during the voyage.
- Daily cabin service.
- All shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs.
- Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services.
- Medical services. There is a resident doctor and well-equipped clinic on board.
- Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities.
- Pre-departure information and briefing.
Not included in cruise fare:
- Air transport to and from the ship.
- Visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes.
- Hotels and meals not included in voyage itinerary.
- Optional excursions not included in the voyage itinerary.
- Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls.
- Emergency evacuation charges.
- Kayaking surcharge, which covers use of kayaks and related equipment, and the services of an experienced kayak guide.
Deposit & Payment
Initial deposit is $1450, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/fourways.php
Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure.
Final payment by bank transfer, check or Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Amex. Credit Card payments subject to 3% convenience fee and maximum $15,000 charge.
Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 100 days prior to departure.
Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.
|Days Prior to departure||Fee|
|90 days or more||Deposit|
|89 days or less||100% trip cost|
- Ship Highlights
- Passengers : 54
Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1985 as an ice-strengthened research ship, and for many years she plied the treacherous waters of the USSR's northern coast. In 2000 she was refurbished in St Petersburg to provide comfortable accommodation for 54 passengers. A combined bar/lounge/library area (stocked with a good collection of polar books) was also created by simple internal restructuring - inviting surroundings for your Antarctica travel.
This class of vessel has a fine reputation for polar expedition cruising, due to its strength, maneuverability and small number of cabins. All cabins have outside portholes plus ample storage space. The Russian captain and crew are among the most experienced ice navigators in the world and their enthusiasm is legendary.
The spacious bridge is always open to us and the decks are ideal for viewing. The chefs are European, and the dining room is attended by Russian stewardesses.
Polar Pioneer is not a luxury vessel as such, but this is a most popular ship for travel to the Polar regions. The accommodation is simple yet comfortable, and the meals are wholesome and uncomplicated. A small fleet of inflatable Zodiacs with outboard motors enable us to travel from ship to shore.
Triple Cabins have two lower and one upper berth, a desk, a small washbasin, storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Twin Shared Cabins have two lower bunks, a desk, small washbasin, ample storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Twin Private Cabins have two lower bunks, a desk, windows, and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Two cabins have upper and lower bunks (cabins 402 and 403).
Mini Suites have a separate small bedroom with double bed, a sofa bed in the main room, a desk, video player and TV, windows and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.
The Suite features a large lounge area, a separate small bedroom with double bed, a sofabed in the main room, a video player and TV, refrigerator, large forward and side facing windows, and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.